These three photographs have something in common: They are all about fear.
They are a reminder that every day, photographers are mistaken for perverts, terrorists, thieves, and other weirdos just because of the cameras around their necks. People seem to assume that we are “up to something.”
People who really are up to something probably don’t announce it by walking around with three-pound DSLRs hanging from their necks. I don’t know of an instance in which a person was injured by having their picture taken.
In fact, it seems to me that the only people who might be hurt by having their pictures taken would be those who might be, well, up to something.
Yelling at Kids — and Photographers
This photograph was shot in London. We were walking through a park for pensioners and sat down on a bench to rest. We were facing a tennis court where a very militaristic guy was trying to teach kids how to play tennis.
As he shouted instructions to them, I took a few frames and realized there was little of interest. I stopped, but the instructor must have noticed me. He started shouting at me to stop immediately or he’d have me arrested.
“It’s against the law, you know. It’s a very serious offense here,” he barked before going back to yelling at the kids.
I seriously doubt that there is a law in England about taking pictures of children in public parks.
Keeping His Belly Private
This photo was taken in Times Square in New York. I noticed the cop’s belly protruding from the side of the building and took a shot before he noticed me.
“No pictures!” he shouted.
“But this is Times Square,” I replied.
“Keep moving, or I will run you in!”
So I shrugged and walked away.
I seriously doubt that there is a law in New York about taking pictures of police officers.
This picture was taken at a skateboard park in West Palm Beach, Fla. It was a public park and as I was walking by, this kid shouted at me to take his picture so I did.
I shot a few and decided to go inside and take a few more. But as I walked through the gate a young lady asked in a very officious tone what I was doing. I said I just wanted to take a few pictures.
“Are you a parent?” she asked. I said I was not; I was just a photographer doing what photographers do. She said it was forbidden for people to take pictures of the kids unless they were parents. She told me to leave.
A public park. In a city of which I am a resident and to which I pay taxes to support parks such as this.
I seriously doubt that there is a law in West Palm Beach about taking pictures in public parks.
Privacy and Photography: Where Does It End?
Over the past few years I have noticed that cameras are now forbidden in shopping malls, stores and museums. Who are we trying to protect? And what are we trying to protect them from?
I used to love taking photographs of people in museums, but that is becoming more difficult. I can understand why some museums forbid using flash, but just taking pictures is also forbidden. Some museums even insist you check your camera at the door.
There is a part of me that wants to resist, to confront, to ignore these people, but it’s simply not my style. All I can do is write about it.
Have you been confronted with this attitude? What did you do?